Thursday, August 06, 2009

How To Read Unemployment Reports

Besides the U-6 number, which is a better indicator than the headline unemployment figure, there's another stat which is important.

Continuing claims is the key number. It rose 69,000 from the week previous on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

But look down the table in that report. 139,291 people rolled off the continuing claims numbers into "extended benefits."

Those folks are still unemployed, yet they understate the continuing claims number by a whopping 140,000.

We're not pessimists; there are positive indicators. But a jobless recovery remains a possibility, and will have tremendous impact in November 2010.

HT: Ticker


Andrew K said...

What exactly is a "jobless recovery"?

Is that where GDP grows, but we don't have any gains in employment?

Dad29 said...

Precisely. Profits, business growth, no new jobs in the mix.

That happened post-2000, too.

Less overall jobs, but decent economic growth.

J. Strupp said...

I noticed the same thing Dadster. In addition, once things start to look a bit bighter, you are going to see thousands of Americans attempt to "look for work" thus driving up the unemployment rate up further.

Furthermore, when the numbers come out tommorrow, take a look at "weekly hours worked". The reduction in hours worked is remarkable. Truly Depression-era statistics. The slack in overall economic activity right now is staggering.

I would add that the last 3 recessions were "jobless" in nature.

Dad29 said...

Yah--hours worked/week was around 33 last I checked, and capacity utilization was around 68%--worst in God-knows-how-long.

Andrew K said...

Ok! Thanks. I hear the term bandied about. Wanted to clarify! Thanks.